Tuesday, September 14, 2010

oxtail experiment

I mentioned two weeks ago that I had ventured out to buy oxtail.  Oxtail is the tail of the cow - so the meat is around what looks like a big vertebrae.  Doesn't sound that appetizing for someone not used to this cut of meat, but it didn't look so scary.  The goal was to learn how to use our new pressure cooker (a wedding gift from the Stolkers) and Kevin was on hand to be our teacher.  We were aiming to recreate a delicious meal we had eaten at work - oxtail in a marinara sauce over polenta with a poached egg on top.  We were going to stop short of the poached egg, but try for everything else.

Our pressure cooker doing its thing

Oxtail recipe (goal was to serve 8 - probably could have served 16):
  • 5-6 pounds oxtails
  • Two large cans of tomatoes
  • Two small cans or one larger can of tomato paste
  • 2 onions
  • Garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Dried herbs (oregano, basil) to taste
  • Cheap red wine (about a cup)

First we put a little oil in the bottom of the pressure cooker and seared the top and bottom cut sides of the oxtail pieces (we probably had about 15 of them - way too much).  We then removed them from the pot and added the onions and garlic to cook down in the meat drippings.  Once they were soft, we added the dried herbs, red wine, the tomato paste, and the tomatoes.  This was then brought to a boil.  We then added back in the oxtail (so that it was submerged in the sauce) and followed the directions to seal the pressure cooker to let it do its thing.   

the sauce - so good
After it had cooked for about 30 minutes, Kevin skimmed off a layer of grease and then removed the bones.

deboning the meat
Kevin then added the meat to a serving bowl and covered with sauce (to taste). I personally like mine a little runny so I added extra sauce.
Meat and sauce - very rich
We then made polenta (non-instant, golden pheasant brand).  We made it according to the package directions and added butter (I'm southern!) and parmesan cheese.

I thought I took a picture of the final meal when it was plated (meat over polenta) - but apparently not!  I guess I ate it too fast.  We also had a salad (brought by Niki) and some Brussels sprouts.  I then went on to eat this meal for 3 more days.  Thanks to Kevin and Nell for coming over to our house only to slave in the kitchen.  It was so fun to learn something new from our friends!

p.s. oxtail is definitely not a low calorie food... quite a bit of grease was skimmed off... but it was definitely worth it!

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